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Thursday, 31 December 2020

Commentary on post-Covid office life from Bloomberg

A lot of discussions are taking place around how post-Covid office life will look like. Some companies have decided to go down the work-from-home (WFH) is better route, while others think this is a blip and everyone will come back to office once this Covid thing blows over.

This video from Bloomberg suggests reality will be somewhere in the middle, and the nature of the office will fundamentally change. Here is a summary of the more important points.

1) Different people have different preferences. The producer of the video has a conducive environment (good sound equipment) and personal preference (gets to see his child) so he prefers to work from home.

The reporter shares his flat with another tenant and he prefers to work from the office 

2) Workers are used to WFO and many want a split between office and home, once Covid is over. The surprising thing is some bosses agree.

3) Obviously the flexibility to WFH is for mainly white collar workers. Many jobs do not have this luxury

4) A consultant interviewed, Mr Dror Poleg, estimates companies spend about 15,000 to 20,000 annually to allow workers to work in an office. He argues that companies may not just think of these numbers as potential cost savings, buy as money they can spend in different ways to make employees more productive. 

The office of the future is not a physical location but a network that allows employees to be productive and be happy to continue working for their employers.

5) The Bloomberg commercial real estate editor in London says some real estate owners are truly concerned about the shift to WFH 

He noted that London office landlords' share prices have plunged this year but the valuation of their properties have barely changed

He thinks the reality is somewhere in between.

5) Another consultant, Tania Adir, thinks team-building is more effective face to face. So office spaces exist to facilitate collaboration. 

She thinks there is a major silent majority who are unhappy working from home, because the home environment is simply not conducive. These people long to return to office

My takeaway from this is that this is still an evolving topic, but it looks like most employees will eventually return to their offices. Office landlords may sigh in relief. However, with the economic impacts from Covid, one has to wonder if employers will try to squeeze some cost savings out of this.

Whether or not a company has a full work-from-office, work-from-home or hybrid model will depend on the nature of the job. For the employee with valuable skills, they will pick the company that suits their working style. Employers will consider this in the war for talent.





None of the above should be construed as investment advice. Do your own due diligence as I will not be responsible for any loss/risk.

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Commentary on post-Covid office life from Bloomberg

A lot of discussions are taking place around how post-Covid office life will look like. Some companies have decided to go down the work-from...